Catching an overnight bus in India? Learn how to stay safe with our top tips for solo female travellers.
1. Book a single seat/bed on 2+1 bus – VERY IMPORTANT!
Ask the travel agent to book you a single seat/bed on the 2+1 sleeper bus. 2+1 basically means a double bed on one side of the bus, a single on the other. You want the single bed to ensure you don’t have to snuggle up with a stranger!
2. Cover up on overnight buses
Dress modestly for the bus – comfy trousers and a long-sleeved top. You will attract attention regardless of what you wear but tiny shorts and scrappy tops will only encourage inappropriate behaviour.
3. Avoid sleeping pills
If you’re travelling alone, don’t take sleeping pills or accept any food/drink from strangers.
4. Request top bunk
If you’re claustrophobic or just want to read before you sleep, request top bunk when you’re booking your seat.
5. Make friends with other women
Chat with other women or Westerners before boarding the bus. Most local women are super friendly and will look after you. Avoid being overly friendly to men that may be travelling on the same bus.
6. Lock up your valuables
Lock your passport and phone away so you can sleep peacefully without worrying someone will steal your stuff. We highly recommend buying this Pacsafe bag>>
7. Take a silk liner/sleeping bag
There are no sheets on the bus so take something to sleep in so you stay covered up. A few people have also reported bed bugs!
8. Take note of your arrival time
Overnight buses can sometimes arrive at 4.30am when it’s still dark. This isn’t a good time to arrive in a new city. If possible, book a bus that arrives at 6am or later. If that’s not an option, ask for alternative bus companies or train times.
And finally, enjoy the experience! The majority of people have no problems but as a female traveller you will need to take extra care.
Had a bad experience on a bus ride? Got more tips? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org